LU News Archive

Lamar Civic Orchestra’s Invitation to the Dance

Orchestral works associated with ballet and other dance arts will be the order of the evening when the Lamar Civic Orchestra presents its fall concert, “Invitation to the Dance,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29. The free performance will be in the Setzer Student Center Ballroom on the campus of Lamar University.

“While there will be no physical dancing at the program, this performance is a tribute to the incredible music associated with dance, such as the many famous scenes in opera and ballet,” said Kurt Gilman, associate professor of music and coordinator of the strings program at Lamar. “I think the audience will be very familiar with this music, and we are pleased to open the fourth season of the orchestra with such a dynamic show.”

The concert, under the general direction of Gilman, opens with “Triumphal March” from Act II of the opera “Aida” by Guiseppe Verdi. The orchestra will then perform ballet music from Charles Gounod’s opera “Faust.”

“The lavish ballet scene occurs in the final act of ‘Faust,’ when Mephistopheles brings Faust to watch the traditional celebration on the eve of May Day when the souls of the dead are released to wander at will,” said Gilman. “The opera premiered in 1859 but was not successful until the ballet section was added in 1869.”

Other selections include “Carmen Suite No. 1” from Georges Bizet’s opera and “Night on Bald Mountain,” composed by Modest Mussorgsky, arranged by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and famous for its use in the 1940 Walt Disney animated film “Fantasia.”

The final work on the program will be from the 1952 television documentary “Victory at Sea,” composed by Richard Rogers and Robert Russell Bennett. The documentary showed World War II battle footage, including the Battle of the North Atlantic, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway.

“ ‘Victory at Sea’ contains recreational dance tunes implying the rare moments of relaxation that can occur during wartime events,” said Gilman. “We are happy to present an encore performance of this piece, which was very enthusiastically received at our spring concert.”

The Lamar Civic Orchestra is a full symphony orchestra, organized by Gilman in 2008 to provide an opportunity for trained musicians from all walks of life to perform together and enrich the community. The orchestra’s members include undergraduate and graduate students at Lamar, students at Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities, Lamar faculty and staff, area music educators, and Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana musicians from a number of different professions.

“Now that we’ve entered our fourth season, the orchestra continues to improve and expand its repertoire,” said Gilman. “Last year, we were invited to perform at Lamar State College–Port Arthur, and we’ll return again this year for one of our spring concerts. We were also honored to open the Lamarissimo! Faculty Artists concert, a first for this orchestra.”

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